The Sharks sent out a strong warning that they are not going to let go of their Absa Currie Cup crown without a fight when they comprehensively beat the log-leading MTN Golden Lions to clinch a home semifinal next week.
DHL Western Province booked their tickets to Johannesburg next week with a solid 43-18 victory over the Ford Pumas, ruling the Vodacom Blue Bulls out of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Even though the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beat GWK Griquas by 49-39 in their match in Bloemfontein, the Sharks’ 53-9 drubbing of the Golden Lions meant the team from Bloemfontein have to travel to Durban next weekend.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls finished a disappointing season with the biggest score of 2011 when they crushed the Platinum Leopards by 92-21 in Pretoria on Friday evening.
Absa Under-21 and Under-19 A-Division
The Blue Bulls topped the logs in the A-Division of the Absa Under-19 and Absa Under-21 competitions, qualifying for home semifinals next weekend.
The Blue Bulls U21s will host their Golden Lions counterparts in a semifinal after losing only two of their 12 league fixtures. In the other U21 semifinal, Western Province host the Sharks. For the final log, go to: http://www.sarugby.co.za/logs.aspx?categoryid=sarugby/u21provincial&leagueid=811&fullview=true
In the Absa Under-19 semifinals, the Blue Bulls will take on Free State at home, with the Golden Lions taking second position on the log for a semifinal against Western Province. The final log can be viewed at this link: http://www.sarugby.co.za/logs.aspx?categoryid=sarugby/u19provincial&leagueid=808&fullview=true
Vodacom Blue Bulls 92 (35) Platinum Leopards 21 (21)
The Vodacom Blue Bulls did everything in their power to keep alive their slim mathematical chance of reaching the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinals, but in the end not even a massive victory of 92-21 over the Platinum Leopards at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria was enough as they crashed out of the competition.
The Blue Bulls scored 14 tries, including a penalty try, as they racked up the joint-most points scored in a single Absa Currie Cup match since 13 September 2008, when DHL Western Province beat the Valke by 92-15 in Cape Town.
Springbok wing Bjorn Basson got a hat-trick, while No 8 CJ Stander and lock Juandré Kruger got two each. The Blue Bulls were devastating in the second half and scored 57 of their points in this period, while the Leopards could not add to their first-half tally of 21.
And even though they finished the season on a high, the Blue Bulls, Absa Currie Cup champions in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 (shared) and 2009, were left ruing a couple of defeats earlier on in 2011.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane, CJ Stander (2), Jano Vermaak, Francois Venter, Juandré Kruger (2), Bjorn Basson (3), Arno Botha, Gary Botha, Francois Brummer; Penalty try. Conversions: Louis Fouche (11).
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Wesley Dunlop, Joubert Engelbrecht, Hoffman Maritz. Conversions: Dunlop (3).
Vodacom Blue Bulls::15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha (captain), 1 Dean Greyling. Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Jurgen Visser.
Platinum Leopards::15 Hofmann Maritz, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Charl Weideman, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Vainon Willis, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Johann Laker, 8 Robert Kruger, 7 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 6 Philip de Wet, 5 Brendon Snyman, 4 Brad Mockford, 3 Dewald Coetzee, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Jean-Jacques Rossouw. Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 18 Bêrend Botha, 19 Spanner Pretorius, 20 George Tossel, 21 Clayton Durand, 22 Jovan Bowles.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 49 (20) GWK Griquas 39 (10)
With the possibility of a home semifinal still within their reach at kick-off, the Toyota Free State Cheetahs did everthing in their power to finish second in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division when they beat neighbours GWK Griquas by 49-39 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Sharks put an end to the Cheetahs’ aspirations a bit later though, but the Free Staters will still be happy with a good victory a week before they have to travel to Durban to take on the KwaZulu-Natalians in a semifinal.
The home team scored six tries to Griquas’ five, but the visiting team got three of their tries in the final 10 minutes, when the Free State Cheetahs had already wrapped up the match.
Young Cheetahs flanker Pieter Labuschagne, one of their finds of the season, scored two tries for the home team, one in each half.
When replacement centre Werner Griesel scored the Cheetahs’ sixth try in the 70th minute, they took a commanding 49-20 lead, after which Dusty Noble (wing), Steph Roberts (replacement hooker) and Sarel Pretorius (scrumhalf), in his final match for the Peacock Blues, scored tries to give Griquas’ score a bit more respectability.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Cameron Jacobs, Pieter Labuschagne (2), Adriaan Strauss, Philip Burger, Werner Griesel. Conversions: Nico Scheepers, Tewis de Bruyn (4). Penalties: Scheepers (2), De Bruyn.
GWK Griquas – Tries: Riaan Viljoen, Leon Karemaker, Dusty Noble, Steph Roberts, Sarel Pretorius. Conversions: Rudi Vogt (3). Penalties: Vogt (2).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs::15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Tewis de Bruyn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Philip Burger, 22 Werner Griesel.
GWK Griquas : 15 Rudi Vogt, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Matthew Rosslee, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Jonathan Mokuena (captain), 5 George Earle, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Ivann Espag. Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Fabian Juries.
DHL Western Province 43 (24) Ford Pumas 18 (8)
Siya Kolisi’s try in the 58th minute gave DHL Western Province a four-try bonus point which was enough to secure them fourth position on the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log in their victory of 43-18 over the Ford Pumas at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
But they had to work hard for this one. After returning Springbok Juan de Jongh crossed for WP’s third try in the 29th minute, the Pumas held them off for half an hour before Kolisi could score the vital five-pointer.
WP started like a house on fire, with another returning Bok, Jean de Villiers, getting the score board rolling in the third minute. Hooker Deon Fourie also crossed the chalk, in the 11th minute before De Jongh made it three.
And Province finished like they started. After Kolisi’s try, JJ Engelbrecht and Bryan Habana’s tries pushed WP’s score up to 43. But the Pumas deserve some credit as they never stopped working and really took the game to the Capetonians, with loose forwards Jaco Bouwer and RW Kember (replacement) scoring tries for team from Mpumalanga.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Jean de Villiers, Deon Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Siya Kolisi, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3), Conrad Jantjes (2). Penalty: Catrakilis.
Ford Pumas – Tries: Jaco Bouwer, RW Kember. Conversion: Carl Bezuidenhout. Penalties: Bezuidenhout (2).
DHL Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nick Köster, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Adriaan Fondse, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JC Kritzinger. Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Tertius Daniller, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Jaque Fourie, 22 Conrad Jantjes.
Ford Pumas: 15 MJ Mentz, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Dewald Pretorius, 11 Johan Jackson, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Christo le Roux, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (captain), 5 Eduan van der Walt, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1 Dawie Steyn. Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Brett Nel, 18 JP Mostert, 19 RW Kember, 20 Hendrik van der Nest, 21 Coenie van Wyk, 22 Siviwe Magaba.
The Sharks 53 (14) MTN Golden Lions 9 (6)
The Sharks are not planning to give up their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division crown without a massive fight as they showed with arguably their best performance of the 2011-season when they crushed the MTN Golden Lions by 53-9 at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.
Bolstered by a number of returning Springboks, The Sharks scored seven tries and did not concede one against the team who had already wrapped up the first position on the log before this match.
As a result, the Golden Lions decided to give a number of their fringe players some game time, resting some first-choice players.
A yellow card to Lions lock Michael Rhodes in the 29th minute cost the visitors, with Ryan Kankowski, back after weeks on the sidelines because of injury, scoring the first of his two tries to see The Sharks take a 14-6 lead into the break.
They never let up and with three tries in the final 15 minutes, by JP Pietersen (replacement wing), Jacques Botes (replacement flank) and Stefan Terblanche (centre) helped The Sharks surpass 50 points for the first time this season.
Flyhalf Fred Michalak contributed 23 points to comfortably top the list of Absa Currie Cup points scorers. The French international finished the league phase of the season with 181 points, followed by Elton Jantjies (MTN Golden Lions) on 145, Rudi Vogt (GWK Griquas) on 144, Demetri Catrakilis (DHL WP) on 135 and Sias Ebersohn (Toyota FS Cheetahs) and Louis Fouche (Vodacom Blue Bulls), both on 126.
The Sharks – Tries: Fred Michalak, Ryan Kankowski (2), Willem Alberts, JP Pietersen, Jacques Botes, Stefan Terblanche. Conversions: Michalak (6). Penalties: Michalak (2).
MTN Golden Lions – Penalties: Burton Francis (3).
The Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jean Deysel, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Eugene van Staden. Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Willem Alberts, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 JP Pietersen.
MTN Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Dylan Des Fountain, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 James Kamana, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss (captain), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Michael Rhodes, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg. Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Butch James, 22 Michael Killian.